August 26, 2019

Interview with Wisconsin Health News on Nexus' plans to build a manufacturing facility that addresses drug shortages

Zoya Ahmed, Marketing Manager from Nexus Pharmaceuticals, recently spoke to Wisconsin Health News about Nexus and the announcement of building an industry-leading manufacturing facility. Excerpts below are taken from Wisconsin Health News.

WHN: Is the move into the generic injectable market new for Nexus?

ZA: When we first started in 2006, we actually were focused on ophthalmic solutions and we launched our first generic drug, which was ciprofloxacin. That was a first-to-market generic for the brand name Cipro, which is an antibiotic used to treat bacterial infection. So we had, shortly after, at least three other generic drugs combatting eye disease.

And then with the rapidly changing pharmaceutical industry, our leadership identified a need in the market for critical care injections because we were noticing that there was a huge shortage…Really, what we had decided after we had launched in the ophthalmic division is that there was a need for us to go into supplying a reliable and continued supply of generic injectables that are available for emergency situations. These are drugs that hospitals use every single day to treat their patients. That was really what we were seeing as becoming a shortage because they’re using it at such high quantity and high volume that a lot of the current manufacturers had limited constraint in being able to provide drugs. Another thing that we saw was that one of the issues for the limited supply was actually because of limited manufacturers.

WHN: What were your first generic injectables?

ZA: So in 2017, we launched our first generic injectables. We actually launched three back to back: isoproterenol, procainamide and sodium nitroprusside. And all three of those are focusing on the cardiovascular disease space. That really was the first we got into the generic injectable space, and that’s really where we saw a huge market need.

With our two drugs, isoproterenol and sodium nitroprusside, back in 2011, there were huge price hikes. It wasn’t just that there was shortage. But because of the limited manufacturers of these drugs, the prices were skyrocketing. So we had seen that there is a big need for this.

WHN: What led to the decision to build a factory in the state?

ZA: While we can work with our CMOs, our contract manufacturing organizations, we realized that a lot of the companies are going toward them and using them. If you have so many different pharmaceutical companies working with the same CMO, you are bound to have some supply issues because they can only supply the market to a certain extent. So that was one of the reasons. And we will continue to still work with some of those CMOs. The idea is not to remove them. The idea is that we increase our capacity to manufacture these drugs by having our own facility.

Along with that, Wisconsin was a great place for us to choose because we did extensive analysis. We surveyed where our potential employees are and where our current employees are located. Wisconsin was nicely centered where we could recruit talent from both Wisconsin and Illinois because a lot of our employees are kind of in the border area. And we had noticed that Wisconsin has a very entrepreneurial type of mentality/ That’s really what our company is about and that’s the company culture. So it fit really well with what we wanted.

WHN: What types of drugs will be produced at the facility?

ZA: We’re going to focus on generic injectables, and not just one therapeutic area. We have drugs in the cardiovascular, neurology, anesthesiology, oncology areas. So they kind of serve across all different therapeutic areas. The main thing is we’re focusing on drugs that hospitals and physicians rely on every day to treat their patients. It could be in the emergency room, the surgery room or in cancer centers.

WHN: What are the plans for construction?

ZA: The principal construction is slated to begin Sept. 1. Then we have a completion target date of January 2021. So really shortly after the completion of the site, then we would have this facility approved by the Food and Drug Administration. And then commercial production is expected to commence in 2022.

WHN: How does your effort compare to others aimed at producing these types of drugs like Civica Rx? 

ZA: We definitely applaud these new initiatives and think that this is well needed in the industry, especially because we’ve seen year after year an increase of drug shortages. We definitely need to hold companies responsible. And I think companies like Civica are actually doing a great job of bringing this to focus and really bringing this issue to light. I think that’s definitely something that we think is very important and well needed in the industry.

I think the difference is that we have decided, instead of working with other facilities and other manufacturing companies or other pharmaceutical companies, to address the root cause by bringing our own brand new sterile manufacturing facility, which will in turn increase capacity for these drugs that have been on shortage.

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